Make sure and carefully review the Preparation & Packing Document in the download panel.
Pack Light!! You don’t need much, really – so pack as light as possible!
A few weeks prior to the trip, GTI will send you a hiking backpack with a hydration pack (Camelbak-style pack), along with luggage tags, and a paperback ESV (English Standard Version) Bible.
I have specified some nice backpacks, new for 2017, so I think you will like them. However you are welcome to use your own day-pack if you prefer. Remember that you will be hiking in extremely hot weather, and in direct sunlight. You will need to be able to carry 2 or 3 quarts of water in your pack, along with your Bible, camera and personal snacks.
Smaller is better. You may only check one bag up to 44 lbs, MAX. There will not be room on the buses in Israel for more than one checked bag per person. Also, the smaller and lighter the bag, the better. You will need to carry all your stuff by yourself frequently.
You can also take a small carry-on, like your backpack, on the plane. What I prefer to do is take a lightweight duffle bag as my carry on, and put my empty backpack inside the duffle when I travel on the plane. Then, once I am in Israel and Jordan, I can use that duffle bag for my dirty cloths. And at the end of the trip I can even check both my suitcase and my duffle as checked bags if I want.
For both men and women, no sleeveless shirts or tank tops should be worn at any time other than swimming. In addition, some places we will visit have strict modesty requirements. For that reason, at these specific locations we must dress especially “modest”. That means:
For men: You must have 1 pair of long pants for admission to some of the locations we will visit. i prefer the light weight hiking pants that have zippers just above the knees so the pant legs can be zipped either on or off depending on the need.
For women: You will need at least 1 long skirt (well below the knees) OR 1 pair of modest long pants (not stretchy yoga tights). Like for the men, this could be the light weight hiking pants that have zippers just above the knees.
Also, women need to avoid cloths that would be “see through” when wet.
I highly recommend everyone bring with them some of Dr. Scholl’s Molefoam and Moleskin. Every trip I end up passing this out like candy because it is so useful for blister prevention and care. The Molefoam is thicker than the moleskin. It is good to have both on hand depending on how much protection you need. I would use the moleskin before the blisters occur, and once you have signs of a blister then use the thicker molefoam. It has adhesive on the back, but you should also buy some good cloth medical tape to tape it on as well, since they tend to come off especially when on the heel.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of investing in good shoes for this trip. It is important that you have strong hard-sole hiking shoes with high-ankle support. We will be hiking over lots of sharp rocks and on uneven terrain. You should be able to stand on sharp pointy things and not feel them poking up on the bottom of your feet. If you feel sharp objects poking up, your soles are too soft. Expect to pay $150 – $300 for good shoes. You don’t want sore feet or a twisted ankle. It has happened… and then people end up having to go home early. Not good! You will probably have to order shoes online unless you have an REI close by. Local places normally don’t have the right stock. I usually order several pair at a time only keep the best one. Don’t be afraid to return them all if none fit well. If your shoes rub on your toes or bones, get something else! Good shoes should feel good on your feet! Stick with a good name brand, for example Asolo, Garmont, Vasque, Lowa, Merrill, Keen, Salomon or Zamberlan. And make sure you end up with a high-top, hard-sole “hiking boot”.
For men, my favorite is the Asolo TPS 520 GV which also comes in a wide. I also recommend the Asolo TPS Equalon GV as well as the Garmont Syncro II Plus.
For women, I highly recommend the Asolo Fission GV available from REI.
I also recommend the Garmont Syncro II Plus above (which is for both men and women) or the women’s version of Asolo TPS 520 GV and Asolo TPS Equalon GV:
Water Shoes / Sandals
For water shoes, a good pair of Teva’s or even and old pair of running shoes will be fine. My all time favorite in terms of a comfortable sandle that can be worn hiking through water is the Ecco Yucatan, available for either men or women:
I like a fairly thick cushioned sock that will add to the comfort of hiking in my boots. Smartwool socks work well and dry out quickly. My favorite hiking socks are the full cushion hiking socks by Darn Tough: